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What if my name changed?

If you legally change your name because of marriage, divorce, court order or any other reason, you need to tell Social Security so that you can get a corrected card. If you are working, also tell your employer. If you do not tell them when your name changes, it may:

  • Delay your tax refund; and
  • Prevent your wages from being posted correctly to your Social Security record, which may lower the amount of your future Social Security benefits.

If you need to change your name on your Social Security card, you must show them a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change. Documents Social Security may accept to prove a legal name change include:

  • Marriage document;
  • Divorce decree;
  • Certificate of Naturalization showing a new name; or
  • Court order for a name change. .

If the document you provide as evidence of a legal name change does not give them enough information to identify you in our records or if you legally changed your name more than two years ago, you must provide Social Security with additional documentation.

Marriage, divorce or annulment: In addition to showing them a legal document proving your marriage, divorce or annulment, you must provide an identity document. That document must show your old name, as well as other identifying information or a recent photograph. (We can accept an expired document as evidence of your old name.)

Adoption, naturalization or other name change: In addition to showing them a legal document citing your new name, such as a court order, adoption decree or Certificate of Naturalization, you must provide them with two identity documents, including:

  • One identity document in your old name (which can be expired); and
  • One identity document in your new legal name, which must be current (unexpired).

Both of these documents must show identifying information or a recent photograph.

Citizenship:Also, if you are a U.S. citizen born outside the United States and our records do not show you are a citizen, you will need to provide proof of your U.S. citizenship. If you are not a U.S. citizen, Social Security will ask to see your current immigration documents.

Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.


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There are 12 Comments

So If I got married, would I just take my marriage license and my drivers license (which still has my old name)?

How much to change a name on your ss card?

There is no charge for a Social Security number and card. If someone contacts you and wants to charge you for getting a number or card, or for any Social Security service, please remember that Social Security services are free. You can report anyone attempting to charge you by calling our Office of the Inspector General hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Do I need to have my name changed on my driver's license before I have it changed at the social security office?

The documents needed and sequence varies from state to state. Some states (ex. WI, MI, KY) currently require you to change your name with Social Security before you can be issued a driver's license with your new name.

Other states, such as CA, are more lenient.

Please contact your state DMV for direction.

Do you have to go to your local office to get it changed or can you mail/fax everything in?

I need to change my name because of being married. My driver's license is in NC but I am in VA for the month. Can I go to the social security office in VA?

You may want to contact the office before visiting, but it appears that any US driver's license is acceptable :

SSA can accept only certain documents as proof of identity. An acceptable document must be current (not expired) and show your name, identifying information and preferably a recent photograph. Social Security will ask to see a U.S. driver’s license, state-issued nondriver identification card or U.S. passport as proof of identity.

Could i use a current id with new last name plus mail and an old credit card to change my social security card to my new last name?? Or do i need my marriage licence???

This is doubtful. I've never seen expired credit cards nor mail listed as acceptable forms of evidence. You must show them a recently issued legal document as proof of your name change. This typically means a marriage license for name change due to marriage.

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